Are You Sleeping With Your Co-Workers?

Are You Sleeping With Your Co-Workers?

Sounds like a crazy question, but conflict with co-workers often have a way of creeping into other aspects of our personal and professional lives. We think about the conflicts while we’re on the job, stuck in traffic and resting at home, and the next thing you know, the disruptive conversations in our minds are playing out in the shower, in the bedroom, and in the most private places of our lives. How do we stop taking our coworkers into the shower and into bed in our minds?

I’m going to give you three tips, and some theory.

The nature of conflict is that it percolates inside us like a hot drink. It gets stronger and stronger the more it percolates, and we get more heated, agitated and aggravated as we continue to focus on the problem. We think about co-workers as villains, we feel victimized, and soon enough we’re caught in a whirlwind of thoughts that steal our precious time away from more productive and peaceful thinking.

Tip #1: It’s important to be aware when we find ourselves needlessly spending energy in such a whirlwind of problems and challenges.

Employees spend, on average, 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict. That’s $359 billion dollars of hours paid, or 385 million working days lost. Conflict is popular.

There’s a huge personal cost for conflict as well, including sleepless hours, stress, and not being present for the tasks and relationships that we enjoy most. So there are actually two conflicts at play: one related to workplace issues, and another related to our own inner struggle with the conflict.

I love the teaching of an old Cherokee legend that speaks of a fight between two wolves as a metaphor for the conflict inside each of us.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Tip #2: When we’re aware of negative thoughts and feelings about a situation, we can choose something different.

If we’re choosing to remain in a cycle of conflicting thoughts about our co-workers, we need to ask ourselves what we’re getting out of it. Some of the answers you’ll find in the characteristics of the first wolf. We’re nurturing our need to stay angry, envious, sorry, regretful, greedy, arrogant, guilty, resentful, inferior, dishonest, with low esteem, or above others with a big ego. But what are we getting out of it? This is a great contemplation if you’re stuck in such a cycle.

Tip #3: We need to feed ourselves with food for our mind and spirit that will fill our beings with the characteristics of the other wolf.

We need to do things where we find joy, peace, and love. We need to read about or find hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith in the circumstances that already surround us.

Although these tips don’t even begin to scratch the surface of shifting the conflict in the workplace, they do everything to shift how the conflict affects YOU. You don’t have to carry issues with you. You can feel joy, peace, love, hope etc. and still be angry with a circumstance that is unresolved. The real question is which approach do you feed the most?

What thoughts do you want to take home? Shower with and sleep with? Blessings for peace, no matter what the circumstances. With a peaceful mind, you can conquer all that needs your attention when the time is right.

Although the strategy is simple, it’s not easy. I’d be happy to help.

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Dedicated to the employees at Pioneer Ridge in Thunder Bay, and the Alderville First Nations Health Centre, who inspired me to write this article and share with all of you.


Preparing Your Elevator Speech

You’re at a networking event—or the grocery store or a conference—and you bump into a prospect.  After you exchange pleasant greetings and business cards, your prospect asks you about your business.  You open your mouth to answer, but your mind races, thinking “If I’ve only got seconds to respond, where on earth do I start?”

These circumstances call for a crafty ‘elevator speech’: a brief, prepared speech that rolls effortlessly off your tongue, succinctly explains what your business does, and leaves the other person wanting to know more.  It should last no longer than 20-30 seconds, like an elevator ride, which is how this kind of pitch got its name.

Follow these steps to create a compelling elevator speech of your own.  Use the exercise file for more help.

Determine the goal of your speech – If you want to get to the point, you must have a point to get to.  You must pick one thing that you’d like to accomplish with the elevator pitch.  Do you have an exciting new product you want to hone in on?  Do you want to tell your prospect what you do for a living, or tell them about the company itself?

Example: To entice people to contact me for information on how they can increase sales and lower expenses by learning about my rich relationship techniques for business and in the workplace.

Define What You Do – Start your pitch by describing what your organization does, the problems that it solves, and how this benefits your clients.  If you can, include a statistic to assist with the value of your product, service or business.

Example: The Tremblay Leadership Center specializes in leadership training and relationship management.   It costs one and a half times an annual salary to replace a good employee, and it’s far more cost-effective to maintain existing customers than to find new ones, so rich relationships mean more money.

Before you begin drafting your speech, ask yourself how you want people to remember you.  You don’t have much time to hook into someone’s mind in order for your pitch to stick, so if there’s just one thing that you’d like to be remembered by, it’s likely that your audience will remember it.  If there are too many things, your signal may become lost in the noise.

Also, make sure that what you’re creating excites you first.  If you’re not lit up with enthusiasm by your idea and your speech, then your audience won’t be either.

Convey Your Uniqueness – What makes you better than the competition?  What makes your product or service unique, and how does that benefit people?  You’re going to want to stand out above the crowd of other people that could be offering similar products and services.

Example: I customize programs to assist people with taking responsibility for making critical relationships work, and I provide tools to help them maintain positive, productive and profitable allies.

End With A Question – When all is said and done, more is said than done … unless you’ve got an opportunity to enroll the person into your conversation.  Therefore, end with a leading question that encourages your audience to discuss and inquire about your business.

Example: How can I help you create rich relationships?

Now that you’ve created each section of your elevator speech, put it all together and use a timer to see if it fits into a 20-30 second timeframe.  If not, pare it down.  As the ancient Chinese proverb says, “Less is more.”  People will remember small, memorable bits.  Long, run-on information is just too overwhelming.  Practice, practice, and practice your pitch some more, and see how it works.  If your elevator speech isn’t leaving people wanting more, then you need to change it up.

Here’s a complete example of an elevator speech that I’ve drafted:

The Tremblay Leadership Center specializes in leadership training and relationship management.  I customize programs to assist people with taking responsibility for making critical relationships work and I provide tools to help them maintain positive, productive and profitable allies.  It costs one and a half times an annual salary to replace a good employee, and it’s far more cost-effective to maintain existing customers than to find new ones, so rich relationships mean more money. How can I help you create rich relationships?

If it’s too long, or too boring, you’ll want to spice it up.  See how this version compares to the one previous:

I help people learn to play nice in the sandbox.  Within a workplace, or in any business, relationships are the glue that holds people together.  I meet with people and businesses of all types and help them achieve more sales and fewer expenses.  Did you know it costs one and a half times a good employee’s salary to replace them?  And what’s a customer worth to business?  Lots!  So rich relationships mean more money.  How can I help you make more money?

There you have it!  A compelling elevator speech that’s just 27 seconds long, and I’m smiling when I say it because I think it’s fit, fun, funny, and fabulous … just like me!  If you need some help, contact me.

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Use our Elevator Speech exercise file to create one for your business.

Consider Speaking With Confidence – Deliver Powerful, Productive and Profitable Presentations, by Penny Tremblay

Join a Toastmaster Club in your area to learn effective ways to have structured speeches that deliver greater impact in fewer words.

Speed Wobbles

Honouring Ourselves Through Misalignment

As I was driving out to a meeting one dark and snowy evening at a speed of 90 km/h, my Jeep Wrangler, “Ruby”, began to wobble. I became nervous because she’d never done that before, and I was afraid of her breaking down completely on this cold night. I slowed down, geared down and she steadied. Whew! I drove further for a few kilometers and sped up again to reach the speed limit, and again Ruby began to wobble, so I had to shift back down and continue at a much slower pace.

Traffic was on my tail, impatiently swerving to find an opportunity to pass me. I began to feel the pressure of the other drivers’ impatience, and I acknowledged the responsibility I was feeling because of it, even though a slower, steadier pace was right for me at the time. I also found it very hard to watch others pass me, like a transport did as we climbed uphill—“OMG, are you kidding me?!”—while I was slow but steady. Others were passing me by and it was bugging me.

I graciously learned two lessons from the speed wobbles that I’d like to share with you.

The first has to do with the concept of moving slower than the posted speed limit. Sometimes, the standards set by others don’t suit us in our current situation or circumstances, and it’s okay to slow down or produce below those standards so we can remain in motion, but in a steady fashion. Better than maintaining an unsafe speed and crashing! Slow and steady can still win the race. This is true in many aspects of our lives: our spiritual, mental and physical health; our relationships at home and at work; our finances, careers and education. There’s a desired pace and then there’s our pace. They don’t always align. Sometimes we may have to be, do, or have less to accomplish more in the end.

Sometimes we have to allow others to move ahead of us, let them lead us, take care of us, or eat their dust while we regain our balance, but we’ll catch up. It’s not necessarily about ‘time’, but more about ‘timing’. Although we don’t want to wait for anything anymore, we certainly don’t want to watch our family, friends, and colleagues move ahead without us any more than we want to slow them down.

The second lesson I learned from the speed wobbles was how I was affected under the pressures of others’ impatience with my slow pace. What makes their pace more important to me than my needs? Why do I allow the pressures of others to cause me stress when I’ve willingly or unwillingly chosen slow and steady as my temporary path? We honour ourselves by considering our needs before the needs of others, especially when we’re wobbling—a sign that we’re out of alignment. We need to focus our concern on our own need to heal, balance or realign, and not concern ourselves about what others think. They’ll understand and respect us for respecting ourselves. We just need to be honest, vulnerable, and able to talk about these things to those who may show impatience to us. If it’s a passing vehicle giving you the finger—well, that’s where they’re at, not where you’re at, so let them keep their frustration, and you keep your confidence.

Slower than standard is not a place to stay, but sometimes we need to back off or gear down from a pace that’s not right for us so that we can realign and rejoin the race and pace of champions. Don’t ever be afraid to take speed for a road test. There may not be any wobbles at all.

Who would have thought there’d be such rich lessons in the speed wobbles?

Need a speed test,  tune up or check up?  Call an expert.  Call me!  You can be sure that I’ll help you or the whole team gain a steady pace.

Dedicated to Rachel W. and Cheryl V. You’ve both inspired me tremendously.

The Key to Staying Committed

I once heard a great statement from the CEO of the Union of Ontario Indians.  While speaking to his team about staying committed he said, “If I’m not doing my job, please let me know, but don’t let it stop you from doing your job.”  I will always remember this piece of wisdom, and I’ve shared it with so many audiences since.

People resonate with this because they form teams, agreements, pacts, set goals or create dreams together, but if someone falls out of commitment, sometimes everyone comes to a halt, blames those who quit and remain frustrated failures at what they had committed to.

I’d say this scenario is a reasonable excuse to quit, give up, or return to the status quo.  People often don’t realize the underlying reasons they have for buying into others’ lack of commitment, but they are definitely getting something out of it, for example, it’s a good excuse to not put in your best effort because others aren’t.

Twice this week, I chatted with clients who’ve been challenged with the commitment of a team. A community leader spoke of his disappointment in a group that had a great idea and implemented it, but after a few roadblocks, people started wavering on their commitments, and the project fell apart.  I suggested to the leader that he not quit.  Others may quit, but that doesn’t mean he has to.  His satisfaction should not be at the mercy of other people’s decisions.

Another commitment conversation I had was with a group of First Nation Youths who had been fundraising for a trip to explore the West coast of Canada,  when some of their adult resources hadn’t honoured a commitment.  I told the youths that this was the time for them to step up, take the lead, and win that race.

If we let others determine our destiny, we will most often be disappointed.

When helping a team stay committed, you can hold people accountable, but in order to be in the place of doing so, you’ve got to be holding up your end of the agreement, too.

Commitment is continuing to do what you’ve said you’d do,
long after the feeling you had when you made the commitment has gone.

Commitment is not a feeling.  It’s a decision!

If you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship, you can certainly relate to that definition of commitment.  I’ve learned that when you fear someone is not remaining committed, you can stay committed regardless.  I didn’t learn it the first time around, but I’m learning it now.  My soul knows when I am all in, and I feel steady despite any wavering of others.

The key to staying committed is to not quit.  Try this statement over and over again.

I commit … I will not quit!
I commit … I will not quit!
I commit … I will not quit!

Your satisfaction depends on you, and no-one else.

p.s.  As a follow up to the group of First Nations Youth fundraising for a trip to Vancouver, they re-committed yesterday despite the low funds raised, NOT TO QUIT.  They have a dream, to explore another part of the country and to prove to themselves and their community that anything is possible with commitment.  If you’d like to read about their progress or help out, check out their CBC news coverage.

Be the Gift of Tolerance

Being among family can be more demanding of our emotional capacity than anything else.  You can choose your friends, but family is chosen for us, and the bond runs deep whether relations are good or not good. Tolerance is an asset.

Be the Gift this year.  Be tolerant of others.  Be the one who can mingle in family time without judgment.  Accept people for who they are, or who they are not.

Be aware of your intolerant thoughts  about people, places or things.  If thoughts of resentment, jealousy, judgment or self pity back come up, redirect them back toward your own peace as if they are light beams that are yours, and being chosen to keep for their brilliant energy.  Call it back to you, and convert it to light, bright goodness so that it can be medicine for your own mind, body and spirit.

Other people’s issues aren’t our problem to solve.  They’ve got their own struggles and we have ours.  If we were supposed to be dealing with their struggles, it would feel right.  But it feels off, which is our internal guidance system telling us to focus elsewhere.

This is a very short Holiday greeting, because I know you’re busy and heading into the most intensive seasons of the year.  A time when you’ll be with family, and those that matter most to you, and for some, a time when you can only wish you could be with someone special who isn’t there.  Be Tolerant – and Be Rich in peace, love and joy.


Rejection is a Great Gift

How can rejection be a great gift? I’m going to tell you but first, a quick example.

In May 2014, my book Give and Be Rich was published and made available for purchase through bookstores, my website, and speaking engagements. One additional avenue for distribution that I have keenly sought ever since is a greeting card and gifting service called SendOutCards. This is a vision I’ve had since long before the book was published; it’s something I’ve asked for hundreds of times in person and in prayer. I have endured the rejection of my requests, yet I’ve kept on asking.

I’ve recently received news that my patience and perseverance have been rewarded!  SendOutCards will make Give and Be Rich available as a gift to be shipped with a card to anywhere in the world—a dream come true for me! Thousands of customers and distributors use this service to send appreciation and build both relationships and business by reaching out in kindness—a philosophy that compliments Give and Be Rich perfectly. My distribution channels have just multiplied by the thousands.

So what does this mean to you?

How many times do you ask for something in business or in life without receiving a favorable response?

Maybe you’re asking for a prospect to take a look at your product or service.
Maybe you’re asking for a client to come on board and trust that you’re capable to help them get what they want.
Maybe you’re working in an office and asking colleagues to trust in you or your potential. Maybe you want a new job or promotion.
Maybe there’s someone or something in your personal life that you want to have or be a certain way. In any case, you may not get the favorable answer you’re looking for the first time you ask—or the second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth time, but you get my point here: never give up on your dreams! Rejection can be your greatest gift.

If what you’re chasing is worth it for you, and if you really want it that much, push through the rejection! Persist. Don’t give up. Don’t let your fear of being rejected stand in the way of staying true to all that you desire. This may be a challenge, so reach out for help when necessary.

Make what you want more prevalent in your mind than how you feel at the time of rejection or loss. Stay focused on your goal.

Here are the most important lessons I’ve learned from receiving a ‘yes’ after hearing ‘no’ so many times:

When I experience rejection, my emotions act first, telling me that “I’m not good enough, worthy, as talented as others, or capable of being and playing at the top of my field.” This is all just FEAR—False Experiences Appearing Real.

After allowing my emotions to subside, I can revisit and assess the situation more clearly from all angles—especially in areas where I can take responsibility for creating a new circumstance. I can use this as an opportunity to grow, learn, and refine my inner beliefs and the skills required to become better.

When I act based on a clearer understanding of the situation, I am able to dig deeper and find better and more creative solutions than I could the first time around, resulting in a win-win outcome for everyone involved.  What a gift!

Here’s a challenge for you to put past rejection to work in your personal development.

Step 1: Think about a time when you faced rejection that you haven’t yet resolved in a positive way. Reexamine the details of the rejection to form a clearer perspective of all factors of the situation.

Step 2: Figure out what you can do to grow, learn, and refine areas of your life or career so that the rejection ends up being a step up for you. Remind yourself of your desired end result—your goal or dream—by putting it in writing or placing a note on your vision board to see the result manifesting itself before your eyes. Believe that it’s possible.

Step 3: Take action again. Ask again. Attempt to do so from a more creative angle than the last time you tried. Bring your new and improved self to the table. Repeat as necessary.

May you create abundance for yourself over this holiday season and into the new year, may your dreams be more prevalent in your mind than how you feel at the time of rejection or loss and may rejection be turned into a great gift for you.

Happy and safe holidays to all,

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Another useful link about rejection:

Just Ask

The other day I sat in a circle discussion led by my partner Matt Thorpe, addressing a group of youth at the Atikokan Native Friendship Centre, on the topic of  alcohol and drugs and the road of substance abuse, crime and violence versus the alternative; sobriety and living honestly at the top of your game.

One young fellow mentioned that he had some great experiences including attend a conference of Chiefs, and a private conversation with one of them because he had asked to participate and asked for the private meeting as well.  We shared about the power of just asking.  Ask for what you need.  Ask for what you want.  Ask for someone to include you in something you’d like to be a part of.  Keep on asking people for the things you want.

Many people don’t ask.  Instead they assume that all the things they’d ask for aren’t achievable, or attainable, or they’re somehow not worthy.

I wrote a piece of wisdom in my recent book Give and Be Rich, about asking, where A.S.K. is an acronym for Assertiveness, Skills and Knowledge.  Be assertive to obtain the skills and knowledge that you need.  People love to give their knowledge.  People love when you show an interest in what they’re up to.  You’ll be surprised at the result when you  do ask, because the worst answer you could receive back is a NO, which leaves you no further behind where you were when you asked.  So you have nothing to lose, and lots to gain by asking.

On the way home from that circle discussion, I got pulled over by the OPP.  I wasn’t paying attention to my speed, and I was about to get a ticket.  So I asked!  I asked if there would be a possibility that the officer would give me a break because I’m trying to clean up my driving record and lessen my insurance costs.  I’m so glad I asked and that the lesson of asking was at the top of my mind, so I am paying it forward.  Just Ask!

What will YOU ask for?

Alcoholism Hurts Families

Perhaps a more personal topic than I usually write, this one is too close to home having just attended the funeral of my partner’s 31 year old nephew, and knowing the story of alcoholism that took over his better judgment. I’m struggling with why not to write this, why not help other families, why not change even just one person who reads this.

Army was his name.  Drinking and drugging became his answer to something.  It got a hold of him, the cunning, baffling and powerful obsession slowly made the decisions for him that would result in his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends saying good bye to a young man who’s organs became the victim to an incurable disease – alcoholism.

Now just for a moment, imagine that was your family member.  Your son, grandson, nephew, brother, cousin or friend.  Just see the people that you love that you know are users of substance, maybe even yourself, and let that thought really sink into your mind, so you can feel the feeling of loss.

This isn’t a judgment of how other’s spend their time, money, or find answers to their deepest questions or challenges.  This is a message that there is another way.  There is a road to recovery.  There is an honesty that is required, for people to dig deep into, to find out why they do what they do, what the risks are, and how alcoholism affects families.

In my past two years of workplace relationships, resolution and reconciliation services, I’ve heard hundreds of personal stories by people affected by alcohol in their families, stories hidden deep down because alcohol wasn’t a topic to mention.  Painful stories of people unaware of how their drinking or another generations drinking affected them, revealing experiences  created by the undercurrent that alcoholic families have running, but no-one’s talking about.  This has to stop.  We need to vent.  We need to speak up and encourage those hurting to speak out about how we’re all affected.

I’ve experienced this personally in my relationships too.  I’ve been one to party regularly, and luckily managed to escape the powerful grip that substance has on others.  As I look back, I’m concerned for our youth.  What example do we set for them when they’re little and learning about life?  Children learn with they live.  What do they continue to see and experience with other adult influences in their lives outside our control?  And are we talking with them about it?   Are we living the example that we hope our youth model in their later years?

I’ve always said that whatever the question, love is the answer.  So many people numb the feeling of not being loved.  Not being enough, not being seen, not being acknowledged.  Being abandoned.  Being abused.  Being lied to, cheated on.  The list is long … We need to express our love with words.  We need to express our challenges with those we’ve grown up with using conversation to talk about things, and not hide in the fear of having difficult discussions for our own healing.  We’ve got to be vulnerable enough to share honest thoughts, feelings and experiences.  This is the answer that our soul seeks most.  Alcohol and drugs are a cover up for the real answer. It just so happens that the numbing affect of alcohol and drugs wear off, and in the constant need for more, our bodies and relationships are strained and broken.

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This article is dedicated to the life of Armond Jr. Thorpe to carry on his legacy by empowering people to create one conversation at a time, to help heal those who think they’ve found the answer.  If you need help creating conversations, I’m willing to help.  Contact me personally.


I recently encountered a metaphor for agitation and its effect on relationships.

I was hand washing some delicate garments the other day.  As the warm water soaked my fine clothing, I added some mild detergent and began to agitate the water with my hand to begin the cleaning process.

I started thinking about the act of agitation, and how—in relationships with ourselves and others—agitated feelings and conversations are uncomfortable.  Yet, similar to doing laundry, we won’t get the same clean result without the agitation.

The word ‘agitate’ comes from a Latin derivative agitare, which means “to set into motion”.  Today’s definition is “to disturb or excite emotionally, arouse, or perturb”.

We create stories for ourselves based on our past experiences with feelings such as fear, guilt, shame, resentment, and anger.  Our attachment to these stories blocks us from seeing what we really need to see, and from the real truth and wisdom of being ourselves in every moment.  To become free and clear, we need a driving force to set ourselves into motion.  We need issues of the past to be shaken up, rattled around, and detached from who we really are.  We need agitation to set into motion the dirt we carry and clean it off, providing us with a fresh start.  And we need it more often than many are willing to endure.

We don’t just add water and soap to our dirty laundry, though.  There’s always some scrubbing required to achieve the squeakiest clean.  Sounds simple enough, but it’s not always so easy.  Not everyone is willing to handle the discomfort of the agitation process.  We need to be able to move past such discomfort and allow the cleansing process to rid us of the unclean, impure, or unnecessary.

Give yourself permission to be discomforted by agitation from time to time.  Don’t be afraid to agitate your situation to shake free anything that holds you back.

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Relationship Marketing

I’ve always said that when two people WANT to do business together the details don’t stand in the way.  Businesses of all sizes rely on relationships with their prospects and existing customers to prosper.  If you think that you have a good relationship with customers just because you’ve done business in the past, think again.  The good news is that you can retain and grow your existing customer base with relationship marketing.

What is Relationship Marketing?

According to, relationship marketing is “marketing activities that are aimed at developing and managing trusting and long-term relationships with larger customers”, and I’d like to add, smaller customers too.  I’ve tested relationship marketing out for years, and it’s been my golden ticket.

Here’s an example of no relationship – no future business.  In the mid 90’s I bought a home.  I spent hundred’s of thousands of dollars through my agent, and he and I were pretty close during the transaction.  Three years later it was time to sell, and I couldn’t even remember his name, or brokerage.  So I called another agent to help me list and sell.  No relationship, no future business for him.  Had he stayed in touch, or created a lasting impression, he’s of had my future business, but I couldn’t even remember him.

If you’re a business owner or professional, you want to make sure people remember you in a good way, so that you’ll be the first one they think of when they’re ready to buy again, or they have the opportunity to refer clients to you.

It’s All About Relationships

To help with this concept, I’m hosting a complimentary two hour lunch and learn to demonstrate how to keep costs down and existing customer engagement up.  You will gain tips to increase referrals by 30% in the next 90 days, and have past customers remember and rave about your service.  Learn secrets of the top 3% in your industry and strategies to improve and secure profitable relationships for your business.

The session is complimentary but only limited seats are available, the purchase of lunch is required, and you must register at this link.  Register One or More Guests

Cecils Eatery & Beer Society – Map Room – 300 Wyld Street North Bay, ON P1B 8K3 CA – View Map

We’re already half full, so register and commit to learning a few tips that will ensure best relationship marketing practices.

Here’s to bigger and better business!